Questionable lawsuits are not that uncommon against professional sports stars for even the most minor incidents. Successful athletes are typically worth millions of dollars and the general consensus is that they would rather pay out a sum that may seem to them to be no more than a day’s pay than endure unwanted negative publicity.
In a slight departure from that axiom, a valet outside the Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach has filed a personal injury suit against Gloria James, mother of NBA superstar, LebBron James, alleging that her slap and profanities directed to him during a confrontation caused him emotional distress, humiliation, mental anguish, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity and loss of enjoyment of life.
Even though he is only asking for a sum of more than $15,000, which gives you an idea of the minor nature of the incident, the lawsuit may seem to some people as an example of someone taking advantage of a person with potentially deep pockets.
There is a surveillance video of the incident, although the scene is difficult to discern because of the distance and a large pillar that blocks out the confrontation.
The valet, Roosevelt Sorel, does not appear to be overly intimidated, if at all, in the video posted on MiamiHerald.com on April 13, 2011. In fact, Sorel appears to push Ms. James to the ground after she slaps him, although she may have fallen on her own accord. According to witnesses, she was intoxicated. Witnesses also confirmed that she did slap Mr. Sorel.
Ms. James was arrested and charged with battery and public intoxication, which does help Sorel’s injury suit. It will be interesting to see if the parties settle out of court in a case that court watchers will certainly keep tabs on.